The newly-formed Jal Shakti department of Uttar Pradesh government has set a target to irrigate 20 lakh hectares of additional land through the Saryu canal, Madhyaganga canal, Arjun tributary by the end of this year.
“Prestigious projects like the Saryu canal have been pending for nearly four decades due to the neglect of earlier governments. The priority of the BJP government in UP is not only to create additional irrigation capacity by completing incomplete projects, but also to promote sprinkler and drip irrigation, a relatively efficient mode of irrigation, for optimum utilisation of available water,” Jal Shakti Minister Mahendra Singh said.
It is noteworthy that out of 49 projects worth over Rs 500 crore reviewed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in October last year, 10 were related to irrigation.
The government has prepared a draft paper which says that the chief minister analysed the reason for the delay of every scheme, fixed the deadline to complete them and also fixed accountability at two levels for effective monitoring, one at the level of departmental officers and other at the Chief Minister’s office.
The paper further says that in its two-and-a-half-year rule, the Yogi government has created about 2,67,000 hectares of additional irrigation capacity by completing incomplete projects over the years such as Ban Sagar, Pahuj Dam, Pathrai Dam, Pahari Dam, Gunta Dam, Laharchura Dam, Maudha and Jamrar. Around 2.35 lakh farmers have been benefited from this.
In order to use every drop of rain water in Bundelkhand, which often reels under drought due to less rain, and to improve the ground water level in the state, the government dug ponds under the Khet Talab Scheme on a war footing, the paper says, adding that at present, the number of such water bodies has reached 8,384.
The government has set a target to dig 6,558 ponds this year. Not only will the rain water be conserved in these ponds, the ground water level of the surrounding area will also improve. During drought, the water available in these ponds will be used for irrigation of crops, the paper says.
So far, 50 lakh farmers have been covered under drip irrigation scheme at a huge grant for irrigating more land with less water. In the coming years, the government plans to connect canals with drip irrigation wherever possible.
Apart from this, the area of irrigation has also increased in dark zones. In this order, about 1.61 lakh hectares of additional land can be irrigated through free boring.
“Water is priceless. People should understand the importance of water. The government has recently set up the Department of Jal Shakti on the lines of the Central government, for better management and utilisation of available water,” the minister said.
The Department of Jal Shakti includes Namami Gange, Rural Water Supply, Irrigation and Water Resources, Minor Irrigation, Fallow Land Development and Flood Control departments.